Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Happy Birthday" and "Imitation of the Rose" by Clarice Lispector. (1960, in Family Ties)

The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lipsector, to be published August, 2015, translated by Katrina Dodson, edited and introduced by Benjamin Moser

Stories 14 and 15 of 85

The short stories of Clarice Lispector I have so far read center on marriages and family life.  There are layers of meaning built into the sophisticated narrative method of Lispector.  I plan for sure to read and post on all of the stories.  For a while until I feel more secure in my understanding of Lispector's stories I will just be largely journalizing my reading of the stories.   Later on I will try to talk in a bit deeper fashion about the stories.

"Happy Birthday" is a really great story that would make a terrific thirty minute TV show.  An extended family whose members do not especially like each other has gathered for the birthday of the 85 year old mother and grandmother and mother in law to the family.  The family members are all trying to make an impression on each other.  It is a very anchored in Rio story with lots of local references. The grandmother just sits their in silence, but she is thinking how did I give birth to this worthless pack of idiots and why did my sons marry these terrible women.  In a scene both hilarious and terribly sad the grandmother has a great outburst in which she curses out the entire family.  

"Imitation of the Rose" is yet another story of a woman waiting for her husband to come home.  In this very interesting story the woman appears to have just returned from treatment for some sort of break down.

The editors did not provide the publication data on the stories so we are on our own with this.  We should not be.

Clarice Lispector (1920–1977) was Brazilian journalist, translator and author of fiction. Born in Western Ukraine into a Jewish family who suffered greatly during the pogroms of the Russian Civil War, she was still an infant when her family fled the disastrous post-World War I situation for Rio de Janiero. At twenty-three, she became famous for her novel, Near to the Wild Heart, and married a Brazilian diplomat. She spent much of the forties and fifties in Europe and the United States, helping soldiers in a military hospital in Naples during World War II and writing, before leaving her husband and returning to Rio in 1959. Back home, she completed several novels including The Passion According to G.H. and The Hour of the Star before her death in 1977 from ovarian cancer.  - from New Directions Publishing web

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